Architecture students know less about cities, urbanism, urban design, and place-making than you might think.
Although the architecture profession went through a crisis of theory and practice in the Urban Renewal era of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, many of today's architecture students learn little about either this history or the knowledge about cities that has developed since then. They are not required to. Take a look at the national educational standards for accredited architecture (and landscape architecture) programs and you will find few references to urban design, urbanism, or the theories or practice of place and place-making, let alone requirements for coursework on these subjects.
At the Urbanism Project, we think it is time for this to change. Unlike previous arguments to improve architecture's relationship to the city, our proposal is not a debate about architectural styles. We believe that as places of the greatest cultural diversity, cities are also the places where architecture of all kinds is imagined and built. This is the magic of cities. But for the benefit of students and practitioners, and for the benefit of cities, towns, and their inhabitants, we believe that architecture students of all esthetic inclinations should learn more about the places where they design; the best research on the nature of cities, towns, and suburbs; and failures and successes in urban design.
In the following pages, you'll learn more about the history of the architecture profession's engagement with cities, current educational standards, our proposal for change, and how you can join the cause to change architecture's relationship to our urban environments.